Killer Excuses: Outlandish Tales from the Courts

668 people locked up in Greater Manchester in 2018
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The tie tack had since disappeared, but it was a connection, along with another memory: Mrs. But, the closer the prosecutor looked at murder number three, the more sure he was that it did not belong with the others.

That there were significant differences Remember, the defense had blue ribbon experts who would testify that in all three murders the same method was used. And a world famous psychiatrist who had examined Spann Why Safarik?

Killer Excuses Outlandish Tales From The Courts

Because he had just completed a study of the murder of elderly women who were also sexually assaulted. Though Safarik did not look specifically at the victims of serial killers, he compared the findings from his study with what defense experts had claimed in the Spann case. Safarik: I reviewed the testimony and the assertions that were made and some of them simply are just not correct.

Remember how the murders were said to be so similar because in all three cases of strangulation, the hyoid bone, the small bone in the neck, was unbroken? Mark Safarik, FBI Behavorial Sciences unit: It turns out, in fact, 22 percent of the women in my study who had been manually strangled, about 45 cases there was no neck structure injury identified.

That third killing Pope says was different. The first two victims lived blocks apart, Ms Alexander was 12 miles away. Her body was on the kitchen floor, not in a bathtub. And crime scene photos show a home that appears to have been ransacked; the houses of Ring and Niell were left tidy. Armed with what he saw as real differences in the murders, prosecutor Pope made the decision: he would proceed with a new trial. His claim: Sterling Spann committed the first two murders, somebody else committed the third. But how could the prosecutor counter those renown experts who were prepared to testify that because these three very rare crimes occurred in the same small rural community at about the same time and in the same way they had to be the work of one man.

Morrison: Are you telling me either the Supreme Court was duped or that the legal defense team was acting unethically was lying? Pope: I have to chose my words carefully. I think that in some sense both of the things you said were accurate. And with that accusation, Prosecutor Pope got ready for a brand new trial that could send Sterling Spann back to death row. But the defense had a counter attack coming. He had enrolled in a welding class, a down payment on the future he had every right to expect once the case against him had finally been put to rest. And for a man facing the death penalty a second time, Spann displayed an amazing confidence in his defense.

Spann: Sure, I would like to be vindicated like I was convicted. I would like everybody that doubted me to be saying we were wrong. But now, increasingly, every allegation, every new bit of evidence, seemed to be accompanied by a seething mutual distrust. So now defense lawyers counter-attacked. John Blume and Diana Holt accused the prosecutor of making up in bluster what he lacked in hard evidence.

But what about the new evidence Crime scene photos show plants in the way of the window on one side and a table on the other with fragile pieces of glass clearly in view. So how did it get there? Simple, says Spann. Sterling Spann: I used to work for her, I cut grass, I washed windows, washed floors. Hardly worth noting said the defense expert. There was no evidence to show when it got there.

And nearly half the population has type O blood. The real question if the killer entered that window bleeding. Morrison: There should be blood on the clothing. There should be blood on the bedspread. There is none of that. And not only that: In the intervening years since Miss Melva Niell died, remnants of that horrible crime were thrown away.

Her bloody clothes her underwear, even that tiny blood drop from the carport all gone. Hullet before we ever talked to him who would have said that he told the same story he told Diana and that he told Pete years before we ever met him.

A Conan Doyle

But then, remember, there was that earlier murder, the killing of Mary Ring. The prosecutor said he could prove that Sterling Spann committed that murder, too. Diana Holt, defense attorney: There is no evidence of that. There is zero evidence of that. John Blume, defense attorney: There are two booking sheets where he was booked two different times.

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Killer Excuses Outlandish Tales from the Courts, Soccers Most Wanted The Top 10 Book of Clumsy Keepers Clever Crosses and Outlandish Oddities The Top. As you'd expect from the title, the contents of this collection of courtroom excuses was quite disturbing. In fact, the stories are a testimony to the maxim that truth is.

There is no mention of that tie tack on either one of the booking reports. And yet the prosecutor insisted the tie tack, though no one has been able to find it lately, was documented several times, policemen and investigators had testified to it in court.. I remember it was there. Holt: Mr.

Spann hit it out of the park not one time, no two times but 3 times. Three times that he passed with flying colors. More than ever most everybody wished there had been just once piece of evidence that might have been tested for DNA. Holt: Slides from the autopsy, evidence from the autopsy. Give it to us. Let us test it.

That was the answer we got to anything that we could do DNA testing on. Anything that could clear Mr. Spann they lost. Three years after Sterling Spann was freed from death row to wait for a new trial 20 years after the first one, jury selection began. Morrison: Did you ever for the slightest moment think it was possible that Sterling had done this thing? Pete Skidmore, investigator: I thought it really would be just as Sterling said.

Spann: It was always in the back of my mind that I was gonna be stuck with an all-white jury and the result might be the same. Then something happened in this courtroom that shocked everyone, the defense, the prosecution, all the spectators and especially Sterling Spann. The judge announced that all the potential jurors should go home, they would not be needed.

The trial was stopped. And the reason was a jaw-dropper. John Blume, defense attorney: It was a scene out of a movie. Evidence slides containing tissue samples, vagina swabs made from the autopsy of Mary Ring, Melva Neill and Bessie Alexander. How important were those slides? They were the one piece of evidence that might show once and for all who was and who was not a killer. Diana Holt, defense attorney: I was completely stunned and outraged.

We could have cleared this up a long time ago. And now? Here it was! In fact, said the prosecutor, it was his office that uncovered the slides, and by accident. An assistant met with the medical examiner to go over testimony, and lamented the lack of DNA testable material What kind of slides? Medical examiner Earl Jenkins went off to look and sure enough, there they were, tucked in a corner of a file drawer I think there was some suspicion of collusion on our parts and frankly, I was surprised because I have no reason to support the hiding of evidence or withholding evidence. On one slides taken from the first victim, Mary Ring, was a minuscule piece of evidence: four or five badly degraded sperm.

The results were - to say the least - strange. The 4 sperm tested proved that TWO men had had sex with Mrs. Ring around the time of her death. But answers about who those two men might be remained a frustrating shade of grey. Jeffcoat: That the defendant in this case, Mr. Spann was included as a potential contributor of those sperm cells.

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Blume: I think any jury would have believed is that you are no further along than you were before. Tommy Pope, prosecutor: Think of just the bad luck Mr. Spann seems to have. Hullett and that crowd chose to frame him, law enforcement chose to frame him and darn if another unrelated case, his DNA is included in the possible donors in there. Ring at all. Sterling Spann, however, was still confident, and had been all along. Several times since he was freed Spann had rejected deals offered by the prosecution. Accept a guilty plea, he was told, and he would be before very long a free man.

And so, once again, the attorneys prepared for a battle in court, utterly unaware another death was coming that would unravel everything. It was a Friday morning in springtime. His rock, his true believer, his sister Sharon, in that car with the license plate that counseled faith in what you cannot see, was driving home from her all-night job. The police report said she went right through the red light. Probably never saw the pickup truck that hit her.

Pete Skidmore, investigator: It crushed him. I think at that point we had 30 days to get together a trial and we had somebody that potentially was gonna testify, Sterling, that was in shambles. The defense begged for a delay, saying, under the circumstances, Spann needed some time to grieve, to pull himself together, to get ready for trial.

The request for delay was denied. Spann: I really felt that going on trial after he was executed and me being a black man, I had to look at that it could happen to me again. And right about then, Spann got another offer of a plea bargain, and this time, it looked a lot more like a legal lifeboat..

So what did he do? He went to her house, he sat down at her kitchen table, and stared at this paper napkin, at the words written there by his lawyer, the ink spreading now through the flimsy paper. Niell, or anybody. And even though the prosecutor believed he was a two time killer, Spann would not be charged with killing Mary Ring.

The plea would carry a life sentence. But there was one huge positive:.

Lawyers Blume and Holt told Spann they had already contacted prison officials, who assured them that because of time already served, Spann would be eligible for parole almost immediately. You have to be focused under these circumstances and I had lost my focus. And so on a sunny springtime morning in the man who had sworn to the world for 20 years that he was not a murderer, joined his old friend Pete Skidmore for a last big breakfast at a diner, went with his wife to put gas in the family car, and then drove to the courthouse, where he stood before the judge and said guilty. Judge: Mr. Spann it has been indicated to the court that you are intending to withdraw your previous plea of not guilty.

There in court, in front of his supporters and those who still believe he is a killer, Spann accepted a life sentence. The bailiff chained him, hand and foot, and led him out of court and back to prison. His three years of freedom was over. Was it right? Was it fair? Tommy Pope at a press conference : What happened here today was a guilty man got spared the death penalty.

John Blume: I think this was the hardest piece of advice and the hardest thing I have ever done. What about Pete Skidmore? He had committed his career, his money, years of his life.. Did he feel betrayed? Skidmore: Let me try to put this in a delicate way. I felt like somebody hitting you in your gut and not being able to catch your breath. And yet? Neither Skidmore nor defense lawyers had begun to understand quite how devastating the next news was going to be. Remember that Alford plea?

The deal that imposed a life sentence but that appeared to promise an almost immediate parole hearing? There was a phone call from that prison official But the damage was done. That promised parole had been the primary reason Spann had taken the Alford plea. Sterling Spann returned to prison completely confident the parole board would send him back to his wife and family at his very first hearing.

Besides, a couple of angels had intervened. But these new supporters, out of their own pocket, hired fresh lawyers and a private investigator to prepare for the next parole hearing. Mellen: So we told him, at that point, that we would stay with this case as long as it took. And three years after Spann went back to prison, with optimism tempered by bleak reality, they made their case again….

Mellen: It was the most wonderful moment in my life. And we all jumped up in the air, and was screaming. And we were congratulating each other, hugging each other. His head was back, mouth was open, he was snoring really loud. They were all looking at him! He checked out on his own terms. Questioning jurors in one case, Blit encountered a very drowsy woman.

Read Next. I lost half my body weight -- and nearly lost myself. This story has been shared 92, times. This story has been shared 47, times. This story has been shared 42, times. View author archive email the author Get author RSS feed. My fave episode is when Dana is in the wharehouse with the file cabinets and dossiers on all Americans and blood samples. I do not remember title of episode but it was creepy good!

My favorite episode is Bad Blood, I thought Luke Wilson was great in it and it was a nice change from the heavier episodes. X-Files episode Existence is my favorite with scully being pregnant and they thing she was impregnated by aliens. I tweeted the book releases — 27 awesome books and the sci fi giveaway X Files!

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My favorite episode though was the one with the circus freaks. Looking forward to seeing the now episodes of X-Files. Perhaps the producers will phase it back in with new characters. Great recommended reads too! I think this is in the 3rd season which I think is where the best stories are. Thanks for the awesome giveaway.

I liked the humour because many of the episodes had been so serious and tense. The one that creeped me out the most was 2Shy — where the guy kills fat women he meets online so he can digest their fat….. The actor who played the character was really creepy. Oh, so many good espisodes!! Season 1, Eve. It terrified me. It remains my favorite episode. Was probably the first one I ever saw with the plane chasing the UFO and then crashing.

I also liked the one with the vampire town that disappeared at the end of the episode. Fun days now long gone…. Ice is awesome. Home is awesome. I love this show so much. Gonna go watch the premiere now, brought to me by the good folks at watching-it-for-free-online! Or, you can get some Ginseng gum at a health food store great for sea sickness too. Check out my favorite reads for This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed. The Fairytale Traveler is a travel and lifestyle blog inspired by the greatest stories ever told.

It follows the adventures of Christa and her son Gauge as they explore the world's magical, otherworldly and fairytale-like places, places that inspired great stories, film locations, creepy places, historic sites, castles, and just about anything suited for royalty. They love myth, legend and lore, books, film, and fandoms. Along with travel stories, travel tips, and travel guides, they feature product reviews on cars, gadgets, and smart technology, and write Gift Guides on travel gear, geeky collectibles, housewares, home decor and more.

Search and hit Go. Giveaways Good Reads. So what does hold in store for us? And not just any army — it belongs to my mother. The Age of Myth is over; the time of rebellion has begun. Power Publication Date: 5th July Synopsis ORDER The Dragon Round For fans of Scott Lynch and Naomi Novik comes a high fantasy epic that blends swashbuckling adventure with a dark tale of vengeance—when a ship captain is stranded on a deserted island by his mutinous crew, he finds a rare dragon egg that just might be the key to his salvation and his revenge. He only wanted justice. Instead he got revenge. He is running out of time: an ancient evil sealed beneath the mountains is about to break free, an evil that is older than humanity, older than the Fade, older even than the gods—and it will not stop until the entire world is drowned in blood… 17 The Winds of Winter A Song of Ice and Fire, 6 by G.

It creeped mecwith the roaches under skin. My favorite episode is Squeeze, mostly because Tooms is an incredibly creepy character!! Thanks for the chance to win! I want to watch the whole series though! I loved watching it in high school. This one looks amazing! These books look great, and the X Files Set looks amazing! I hope they bring this back. January 24th! Love, Love, Love the X-files! Defiantly a must watch. The days before streaming and DVR. I remember watching almost every new episode when it aired.

Definitely the house one with the creepy family hiding the mom under the bed. One one where the get a house in a whirly-gig neighborhood where people were being murdered. This just made me giggle. I love the X-files. It was one of my favorite series. I wish they would bring it back. I like anything by Stuart Woods.

Killer Excuses Outlandish Tales From The Courts

Amazing giveaway! Thank you for the chance. Thank you for coming by!! Arcadia is my favourite. LOL I remember I loved the show! I have not seen any ,I have antenna tv. Corry L. I cant even remember the episodes even though i watched them a lot. Catherine R. I love the episode from the first season, Eve. My fave episode is the pilot. It was like Deliverance. So amazing, huge x-files fan!

My girlfriend loves the show. Rodney T. Beyond the Sea… even years later, it still creeps me out! Looking forward to the new series. First episode. Hooked from there. Awesome contest! Thank you!!! I meant think!